Canadians love their sports, especially hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and football. Of course, everyone knows hockey is Canada’s Official Winter Sport, with the men’s national ice hockey team winning numerous medals in various competitions.
But there’s more to it:
Sports stats from Canada tell us lacrosse used to be Canada’s national sport from as far back as 1859. However, it was replaced by hockey and is considered a summer sport.
The good news is:
Sport participation in Canada is high, with more and more people playing golf, tennis, curling, cricket, and many other sports on a recreational basis.
Without any further ado, let’s delve deep into Canada’s world of sports and see just how Canadians are faring in the various sports they compete in.
Fascinating Canada Sports Stats (Editor’s Choice)
- 42.7% of all NHL players during the 2020-2021 season were Canadian.
- There are 607,951 registered hockey players in Canada.
- 12% of all Canadians are hardcore hockey fans who follow all hockey-related events.
- With approximately 20% of the Canadian fanbase each, the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs are the most popular Canadian NHL teams.
- There are more than 100,000 registered lacrosse players in Canada.
- 86% of Canadians believe engaging in sports is worth the effort.
- Cindy Klassen, who won 5 medals in a single Olympics competition, is one of the most successful Canadian athletes.
The Big One: NHL Stats
1. Seven Canadian teams compete in the National Hockey League.
(Source: Hockey Answered)
Compared to 25 teams from the US, Canada’s 7 teams may not seem that impressive. But when you compare the populations of the two countries, you’ll see that Canada contributes much more proportionally to the NHL.
The Canadian teams playing in NHL are:
- Calgary Flames
- Edmonton Oilers
- Vancouver Canucks
- Montreal Canadiens
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Ottawa Senators
- Winnipeg Jets
2. At 42.7%, Canadians were the biggest nationality group in the NHL in 2020-2021.
Hockey statistics show 432 Canadians were playing in the NHL during the 2020-2021 season, alongside 282 Americans (27.9%), and 98 Swedes (9.7%), 60 Fins (5.9%), and 52 Russians (5.1%), among others.
Historically, Canadians have been even more dominant. For instance, back in the 1988-1989 season, they accounted for an impressive 75.6% of all NHL players.
3. With approximately 20% of the Canadian fanbase each, the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs are the most popular Canadian NHL teams.
Hockey Canada survey statistics further show the other clubs have roughly the same popularity:
- Vancouver Canucks – 12%
- Calgary Flames – 11%
- Edmonton Oilers – 11%
- Winnipeg Jets – 10%
- Ottawa Senators – 9%.
4. With 24 Stanley Cups, the Montreal Canadians are the most successful team in NHL history.
That’s 11 Stanley Cups clear of the second most successful team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, which boasts 13. However, the Canadiens haven’t won it since 1993, as sports stats from Canada point out.
Could be worse, though.
When did the Maple Leafs last win the Stanley Cup?
Back in 1967. Ouch!
5. As of 2020, Canada has 607,951 registered ice hockey players.
For a country with a population of around 37 million, having more than half a million ice hockey players is a clear sign of the extent of hockey popularity in the Great White North.
This is especially true when it comes to adult sports participants, professionals, semi-professionals, and amateurs. As we’ll see, the situation with Canada’s youth sport participation is somewhat different.
Adult hockey participation actually fell from its 2013-2015 high, when there were 721,504 registered hockey players in Canada.
6. 12% of Canadians follow all hockey events.
58% of sports fans watch more than half of all hockey games or at least a half, 46% watching less than half and 45% finals and main events only.
Other Popular Sports in Canada
7. There are more than 100,000 registered lacrosse players in Canada.
Lacrosse is widely played on a professional level. Since 1994, when the House of Commons recognized lacrosse as the country’s Summer National Sport, its popularity has grown even more.
8. In 2026, Canada will co-host the soccer World Cup alongside the US and Mexico.
Sports stats from Canada reveal this will be the country’s first time to host the FIFA World Cup. In contrast, both Mexico (1970 and 1986) and the US (1994) have already hosted one of the world’s biggest sports events.
This will be the first soccer World Cup to feature 48 teams, up from 32 teams. So, each host will get to see a lot of soccer action, as the whole tournament will be held in 16 different cities across North America.
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9. During the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Canada broke the record of the most gold medals won at a single Winter Olympics, with 14.
The XXI Winter Olympics, held in Vancouver in 2010, were incredibly fruitful for Team Canada. At the event, the Canadians broke the record of 13 golds previously held jointly by the USSR and Norway.
Did you know:
Canada has hosted the Olympics on two other occasions – in 1976 (Summer Olympics in Montreal) and 1988 (Winter Olympics in Calgary).
University Sports in Canada
10. U Sports, the main governing body of university sports in Canada, was formed in 1961 and encompasses 56 schools.
U Sports is charged with regulating and organizing competitions in various sports, such as basketball, rugby, cross-country, curling, swimming, volleyball, hockey, etc.
The organization has 4 different conferences in 43 cities, more than 20,000 university athletes, and 900+ coaches.
York are the U Sport soccer leaders, with an almost impeccable record of 11-0-3 in the last pre-COVID season. Cape Breton, Carleton, and Montreal are their closest follow-ups. In the basketball league, Carleton is followed by Dalhousie, Alberta, and Ottawa.
11. U Sports is essentially a non-profit organization, with its revenues equaling its expenses.
With equal revenues of $5,187,294 and expenses of $5,183,790, as shown by 2020 university sport stats, it’s evident that U Sports aims to provide opportunities for students to compete and engage in healthy activities. It’s not commercial or profit-oriented.
Famous Canadian Athletes
12. Cindy Klassen, with 24 medals in the speed skating discipline, is one of the most famous Canadian female athletes.
(Source: Sports Nerd)
Cindy Klassen won 5 medals in the 2006 Winter Olympics, the most of any Canadian athlete. Born in 1979, Klassen has since retired from professional sport. She hasn’t kept idle, though.
Check this out:
She’s obtained a degree in psychology and is now working with the Calgary Police Department.
A most exciting career indeed!
13. Wayne Gretzky, the only man to record 200+ points in a single NHL season, is one of the most famous Canadian sport players.
(Source: Sports Nerd)
Even 20 years after his retirement, Gretzky retains the amazing record of 200+ points in a single season. And he repeated four times! Gretzky competed on a professional level between 1979 and 1999 and has become a living legend and one of the best known Canadian sportsmen worldwide.
Further reading: Best Hockey Players of All Time
Sport Participation in Canada
14. According to sports stats from Canada, 6.4% of Canadians said they regularly participate in swimming, the highest of any sport.
This sport stat comes from a 2018 survey of more than 47,000 respondents. It reveals that swimming was the most popular recreational sport in Canada, with the highest percentage of regular participants.
Other popular recreational sports include:
- Cycling – 5.8%
- Hiking – 5.3%
- Fishing – 4.3%
- Running – 4.1%
- Basketball – 3.4%
- Badminton – 3%
- Golf – 2.97%
- Bowling – 2.8%
- Baseball – 2.8%
- Ice Hockey – 2.5%
We see that ice hockey is in fact far down the list. General sports stats from Canada show that not that many Canadians regularly participate in ice hockey, possibly due to the limited availability of facilities and the price of equipment.
On the other hand, cycling, hiking, and running are relatively cheaper and more readily available.
15. Canadians have a very positive attitude towards sport and fitness, with 86% saying it’s worth the effort.
76% enjoy being physically active, 90% believe that participating in fitness and sports activities is pleasant, and 18% of Canadians believe that engaging in physical activity is the best part of their days.
At the other end of the spectrum:
Sports stats reveal there are those who don’t really like physical activity. 4% of Canadians believe that physical activity is completely dreadful, not for them (5%), and impossible (4%). Additionally, 9% think physical activity is the source of their anxieties, that it’s boring (11%), and a burden (12%).
16. Around 86% of all Canadians engage in at least one sports activity recreationally.
(Source: 150 Stat Can)
According to official stats on Canada sports participation, the vast majority of Canadians participate in sports on a regular basis. Additionally, 71% mention enjoyment and fun as the main reason for engaging in sports, followed by health and physical fitness (69%), achievement and pride (51%), family time (45%), and meeting friends and making acquaintances (35%).
What’s more:Around 14% of Canadians play sports competitively. Click To Tweet
17. 75% of 5-to-17-year-old Canadians participate in sports.
According to youth sport participation statistics for Canada, household income and the educational level of parents affect the rates of young Canadians who participate in a certain sports activity. Generally speaking, however, Canadian kids are pretty active and engage in various structured sports activities.
And on that positive note:
And there you have it – the most important Canadian sports statistics. Canadians are generally known as “outdoorsy” people who are always ready for some healthy physical activity due to the vastness and natural beauty of the Great White North.
Sports stats from Canada show just how a country can be open to sports and a healthy lifestyle when there are enough opportunities.
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